Yesterday yielded a very interesting development to a story that many have been watching. NDP leader Tom Mulcair decided to publicly condemn the use of the term “terrorist act” as a description of the events that took the lives of 2 Canadian soldiers, one run down in Quebec and the other shot and killed in Ottawa (while standing guard at the war memorial.
This has been a subject of a previous blog post of mine, though that was referring to just the Quebec incident (Ottawa had not yet happened). What was said then still applies, and then some.
I am still of the opinion that the only reason the “terrorist/terrorism” label came out was because of the radical islamic ideological beliefs of the perpetrators of this crime. The fact that the crime was against authority figures (or at very least, symbols of authority) also only fed into the script.
The Canadian media seems to have a weird fascination with the unfortunate death of authority figures which is not shown for pretty much, any other violent victims.
One does not get breaking news alerts for every stage in the picture (from death, to funeral, to burial) when it comes to civilian deaths. Nor should we.
And I wish that the same standard would be held towards police officers, soldiers and other who come to an untimely demise. It comes down to me seeing beyond the outer exterior adjectives of career, and into the universal one that is the human beneath. I understand why the public feels sadness, and can share some of the same emotions. But remember that family’s of the grieving are not just dealing with their loss, but now also with the media in their faces. Near or afar, I would not want the media harassing me if I lost a close family member or friend.
And then there is the part that voluntary career choice played.
All murder is unfortunate. Anytime that a person loses their life prematurely and needlessly, it is a tragedy. But when one chooses a career such as police officer or soldier, death is one of the risks.
Another part of this whole story, is that career does not discriminate for bad timing, freak accidents.
Both soldiers killed, could well have been, anyone else really. As far as I can see, the death count (at least in Ottawa) may have been limited by the number of people present.
And then there is the reaction to the story.
After the story had carried all over the nation, as expected there was an outpouring of grief. One can never be faulted for that very human reaction. But then came the fear.
Of course, that is also a very human reaction to the situation. But here is where word “terrorism” starts wrecking havoc. Say the word, and you think of such instances as 9/11, the Boston Marathon, Madrid and London.
And hand in hand with this comes the irrational fears of the uninformed public towards all who fit the “profile”. Everyone with a turban becomes a homegrown radical isis convert.
Terrorism is a stupid word to use in this situation, because it seems not driven anything but ideology. In particular, the ideology of the attackers.
Lets be honest in admitting that the majority of the “carnage” was emotional. I do not miss that 2 people died. But thats just it, 2 people. As far as I know, none injured.
As opposed to, all attacks of note mentioned previously. Or even events that we call “mass shootings”. For example, Columbine (even though they wanted to be terrorists. Thankfully their bomb making skills were nonexistent).
Harper made mention of the events in Ottawa and Quebec saying that “Canadians will not be intimidated”.
Well, hate to break it to you Canada, but that boat sailed as soon as the word “terrorist” came up.
Look at twitter, and you have people in Winnipeg or Vancouver scared to go to the mall. And you have shows like “The Social” pondering whether or not Canadians are safe.
And like clockwork, we hear it announced that CSiS will get more power to surveil Canadians deemed a “terrorist threat”. Remember the U.S.A P.A.T.R.I.O.T Act folks?
Its good to take an inventory of how we run things, see if changes need to be made in terms of security in all areas.
But all in all, this conclusion that Canada looks different today then it did a week ago, is irrational. You are no more or less likely to be killed in a mass shooting or terrorist act today, then you were yesterday. This goes for most of the western world.
You might be killed by a terrorist, or a mass shooter. But your more likely to die in a car accident. If you don’t loose sleep about dieing in a car wreck, why would you worry about an even more unrealistic variable?